30 Dead, Thousands Missing in Brazil Floods; RMS Analysis

June 23, 2010

Heavy rain in northeast Brazil triggered the Mandau River to overflow its banks on Sunday, June 20, causing “devastating floods that have been attributed to the deaths of over 30 people, and left thousands missing,” according to a report from Risk Management Solutions. “The flooding has affected the states of Alagoas and Pernambuco, around 800 miles (1,300 km) northeast of the Brazilian capital, Brasilia.”

RMS indicated that there are as yet no figures on the amount of rain that has fallen in the region, but the Brazilian Center for Weather Forecast and Climate Studies (CPTEC) had “predicted above average autumn rainfall in the northeast – the autumn season ending on Sunday.

As of 09:00 UTC Tuesday, June 22 state officials had reported 33 deaths, but RMS indicated that “online media reports suggest a figure already at 50.” It’s also highly likely that “this figure will increase dramatically given that thousands are currently reported as missing.

“Local media reports suggest that entire villages in the states (estados) of Alagoas and Pernambuco along the river banks have been swept away by the floodwaters. Reports indicate that around 80 percent of the town of Quebrangulo in Alagoas is submerged, whilst in the town of Uniano dos Palmares state officials have reported that 500 people are unaccounted for. The Alagoas Governor has stated that 40,000 homes across the state have been damaged or destroyed – a figure confirmed by the Brazilian Civil Defense Agency. The Alagoas Governor also released in a statement that rail lines in 22 towns within the state of Alagoas have been destroyed by floodwater.”

RMS has indicated, however, that despite the severity of the flooding and the “disastrous affect on the population, the floods are unlikely to affect the insurance sector, as within the area affected insurance penetration is low or nonexistent. According to AXCO, where flood is of a concern the railways are one of the few insured exposures.”

Source: Risk Management Solutions

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